Manila: Several railway lines operating in Metro Manila and the Bicol Region have made a noteworthy announcement — complimentary rides for the public.
The free train rides commenced on Saturday (September 16) until Wednesday (September 20) to mark a double celebration — the 123rd Philippine Civil Service anniversary and the Peñafrancia Festival in the Bicol Region.
This generous offer is a joint initiative by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and encompasses both the LRT-2 and MRT-3 lines located in the National Capital Region.
The Philippine National Railway (PNR) line in Bicol region, south of Manila, also made a similar offer. This gesture aims to mark these significant occasions and provide a token of appreciation to the public.
Dubbed the "libreng sakay" initiative, it serves as a symbol of unity with the Philippine Civil Service anniversary celebrations and is intended to benefit government employees, through reduced transportation expenses.
It also encourages their active engagement in the celebratory events linked to the Philippine Civil Service Anniversary and the Peñafrancia Festival, in Bicol, by fostering a sense of community during these special occasions.
In a statement, LRTA-LRT2 said: “In solidarity with the celebration of the Philippine Civil Service Anniversary, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) will offer free rides to government workers within the LRT-2 from September 18 to 20.”
Who can avail of free ride
Commuters in Metro Manila and the Bicol Region can take advantage of these complimentary rides to partake in the festivities and celebrate these important events.
How to avail of free train ride
"Just show your government issued ID to avail of the ‘libreng sakay’ (free ride),” the agency added.
The said free rides would be available from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the morning. It will resume in the afternoon to early evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, free rides would also be given at the MRT-3 during the same peak hours.
“We at MRT-3 wholeheartedly joins the celebration of the Philippine Civil Service's anniversary,” said Transport Assistant Secretary for Railways and MRT-3 office-in-charge Jorjette Aquino.
“The free rides serve as our ‘simple thank’ you to all the sacrifices given by each and every government employee just to be able to perform their duties well.”
Shorter intervals, more trains
Aquino said more train sets are now available after 72 light rail vehicles (LRVs/bagon) were overhauled in November.
“We have 24 train sets available and operational. About 18 train sets are running during peak hours, and we can deploy at least additional two train sets when necessary,” Aquino said.
She added that ridership has steadily increased year after year, meaning more commuters are now returning to ride the MRT-3.
The MRT-3 is also operating at shorter intervals and improved speeds, with Aquino explaining that the line can service up to 450,000 to 500,000 daily riders with only four minutes headway.
“We can deploy additional two or three more train sets when necessary to accommodate 450,000 to 500,000 ridership. Our trains are running at improved speeds of 60 kilometers per hour, which means headway is only at four minutes,” Aquino said.